New service-learning charter school approved for Concord

  • Stephanie Alicea presents her proposal for a new Concord charter school to the State Board of Education in November. LOLA DUFFORT / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Thursday, February 08, 2018

A new charter school serving middle schoolers, and eventually high-school students, could open in Concord this fall.

The State Board of Education on Thursday, in a 5-1 vote, approved a charter for the Capital City Charter School. The school would be based on a service-learning model, which requires students to incorporate individually designed community service projects into their education.

Two of the school’s five founding members are well-known to the Capital area: Boscawen state Rep. Caroletta Alicea and her daughter, Stephanie Alicea. Both have backgrounds in education – Stephanie Alicea has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from New England College and for years taught health and physical education at high schools in the area. The elder Alicea has spent over a decade on the Merrimack Valley school board.

Schools based on service-learning exist elsewhere in the country, including Illinois and Vermont.

“It’s beyond charitable or volunteer work. It includes projects that address important academic skills. Core-academic skills, plus reflection, and action,” Stephanie Alicea told the State Board.

Founders said they have identified a suitable facility in Concord for the school. But they declined to name the location, saying a deal for the building was contingent on startup funds from the state.

The school would start small, according to application materials submitted to the state, with just 60 middle school students, 4 teachers, and a $644,000 budget. But founders hope to grow enrollment to 330 students, the teaching staff to 21, and the budget to $2.4 million, by the school’s fifth year.

The school first came up before the State Board in November, when board members expressed enthusiasm for the concept but said they needed to see further details before greenlighting the project.

Capital City Charter will be the fourth charter school to start up in Concord. Two other charter schools – TEAMS and CSI – were located in Penacook, but TEAMS closed this summer for lack of enrollment and finances. A charter school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing closed in 2006.

Public charter schools are granted a five-year “charter” that outlines the mission, programs, goals, and measurements of success for the instition.​​​​​​ Once a school has an approved charter, it can apply for startup funds.